Courtney Dellafiora »

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Before I begin this post, I would first like to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude for the overwhelming response I received from my last post. When I wrote it, I truly had NO IDEA it would bring that much positivity and beautiful support. Truthfully, I was hesitant to post it. But I can say, I am SO happy I did. I received countless comments, emails and private messages from people from all over the place. I didn’t even think that many people would read it. I was shocked to see that thousands viewed it in less than 24 hours of it being posted. I cannot thank each of you enough for taking the time to reach out to me and share the most wonderful and kind encouragement. I was in tears after reading each and every one of your messages. It touched my heart more than you will ever know. And I am forever grateful that I have so much support from you all. Your beautiful words inspired me deeply. And it also made me realize that I need to be opening myself up to you more. So I promise to work on that and try to share more with you. I have a huge desire to make an impact and if opening my heart and soul to the world can somehow do that, I’m ready. Thank you a million times over. From the bottom of my heart. Your words will stay with me forever.


Oh Iceland, I have fallen in love with you forever. You have captured my soul and I will never be the same. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for giving me life and inspiring me in more ways than one. I will be grateful for all eternity.

I truly could never express in words, photos or video how incredible and awe-inspiring this island is. It is the place to find healing. Not a single photo ever does this place justice. If unicorns did indeed exist, they would exist in Iceland.

I took this trip by myself. I did all of my own research and drove around the entire outer edge of the island over a two week span. I saw so much, did so much, experienced so much. I enjoyed every single moment and loved every place that I stayed and the people I met.

I have so many favorite things about Iceland. There is truly SO MUCH to see. Every inch of that country is beautiful, and unique. No part of it is like the other. I love that once you get out of the airport area, it’s like you’re in the most beautiful wilderness, with hardly any other people to be found anywhere. Even the “popular” landmarks had hardly any people at them. I felt as though I belonged to Iceland and Iceland belonged to me. I love that in the winter the sun only rises a little bit off of the horizon… so you’re basically in a sunrise/sunset ALL DAY. It creates the most perfect lighting. The days are super short though. In November the sun would rise around 930-10 and set around 345-430. (The days get even shorter in Dec and Jan.) So I definitely had to be strategic in all my planning as to make sure I accomplished everything I wanted in a day. And even though I did plan, many of my plans were delayed or altered because of the weather. You definitely have to be flexible when coming to Iceland. Iceland’s weather is extremely moody. It can be sunny one moment, and raining or a snow storm the next. And then sunny again. I loved it though because it was constantly creating different perspectives of this amazing land.

It is in one word, MAGICAL. But as magical as it is, it is equally dangerous. And when I say dangerous I don’t mean because of other people. I mean because of the landscapes and weather. It would be so easy to fall off of a cliff, drive off a mountainside, be washed away by the intense waves, drive into sheep (they cross the road often and without any warning), get stuck in the terrain, be blown away by the crazy wind, get stuck in a snow storm, and the list goes on. I found knots in my stomach a couple of times due to this. But in part that is also what made it so exciting and adventurous. : )

One of the most anticipated things to me was getting to see the elusive Aurora Borealis. My two week trip was almost over and I still had not seen her. I was so so sad about it. But like a miracle in the sky, she came out and danced for me on my very last night in Iceland. Seeing this took my breath away. Pure MAGIC. And as quickly as she came out, she vanished into the night sky. Just giving me a little tease. It was the most perfect way to end my trip. I will never forget it.

This surreal place stole my heart and changed my life forever. I will be back again and again.

Thank you God for creating this incredible place.

Side note: While I was there, I realized that I have a gift for planning adventures and I really want to share that with you. Exploring the world can be scary and confusing, and I genuinely would like to make it easier for people to live an exciting adventure. I will be inviting you to join me to come to Iceland next year. You won’t have to plan anything, just show up! I look forward to sharing the details soon.

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Short video featuring the “Roads of Iceland” shot while I was driving. Music by Lawrence Burges. Drone footage coming soon.

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Hello world.

It’s been a while. I needed to disappear for a minute. But I am back, and I am ready to share my heart with you. To anyone willing to listen, would you mind if I get very candid with you?

Sometimes it is so hard to be raw with the world. To be vulnerable and share your deepest pains and fears. But here I am, opening myself up.

Life is a journey. It has its challenges and its victories. Its ups and downs. That is what makes it so beautiful. The imperfections make you appreciate the perfections. The betrayals make you appreciate the loyalties. The tears make you appreciate the laughter. No matter what, how you handle each moment is what makes you who you are. The more gracefully you handle them, the stronger and better you become.

The past 15 years of my life have not always been easy to say the least. I feel as though they have been training me for everything my future holds. These years hold some of my greatest memories and proudest accomplishments, but also some of the worst and most painful moments of my existence. I moved from Peru to Louisiana when I was 18 years old. The challenges began almost instantly and didn’t end until recently when I finally left and closed the “Louisiana chapter” of my life. I am so very grateful for so many wonderful things that happened while there. But it was certainly time to move on to a new chapter.

When I meet someone that I believe in, I tend to give them my whole heart. Whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, I care for them deeply. I trust them, and I never for a second think that they will turn on me, or abuse my care for them. I am truly guilty of seeing only the good in someone. It is one of my greatest attributes and equally one of my worst. Because of this, I have been taken advantage of and mistreated more times than I care to mention. It is something I may never understand for as long as I live. I will never comprehend how people can use and abuse others and sleep well at night. I am far from perfect but I could literally never do that to someone. Never.

Truthfully, I could write a book or two on the countless times I’ve had my heart broken by people I loved but I am only going to share about one of them right now.

In May 2015 (one year before I was to close my photography business), something happened that I never saw coming. My trusted and loved right hand man betrayed me. I welcomed Emily into my life with wide open arms and great love, admiration and loyalty. I adored this girl. She was one of my favorite people I had ever met, and I thanked God for her every single day. I felt so utterly blessed he had sent her into my life. Finally someone I could trust. It was probably pretty obvious to anyone who has followed me for a while just how much I cared for her. We meshed so well and genuinely enjoyed working together. I grew to care for her like a younger sister, someone I wanted in my life forever. And I really thought and believed she cared for me too. I gave her the world. Literally and figuratively. I took her with me to Paris, London, NYC, California. Taught her so much. Invested so much time and money into her. Because that is what I do when it comes to my business and my friends. I gave her memories I know she will never forget. Went above and beyond to show her how much I appreciated her as not only an employee, but a true friend. Praised her openly to the world. Promised her I would always make sure she was taken care of and the list goes on and on. I never for once considered the possibility that she lacked loyalty and good character. She had definitely fooled me into thinking she possessed those things. I trusted her completely.

With absolutely no signs or warning at all, she quit her job and never spoke to me again. I cried for three days straight. I was beyond devastated. She broke my heart. Not only did she leave me in a ginormous bind with my business, but she brutally betrayed me. It’s not necessary for me to go into details of how she did. Sadly, she has zero integrity and lacks respect and good morals. She used me for what she needed and then she vanished like a thief in the night.

I will never forget what she did to me. And I will never understand WHY.

Thanks to her, I was forced to run my business on my own for the last 12 months of its existence. I could never truly explain how challenging that is. But to sum it up, I worked 24/7. No lie, I slept a few hours a night, woke up and worked all day until I went back to sleep that night. Every single day. I didn’t have weekends or time off. I had to work around the clock in order to maintain seamless operations and the high end customer service my business was known for. I had to be able to remember a million different details at all times of the day on top of photographing several shoots a day and weddings on the weekends. I was not going to let another human being destroy what I had worked so hard to build. So I just ate, slept and breathed my business for the last year.

(Side note: Hiring another employee was just not feasible. It takes 6 months to a year to train someone to work at my company. It just wouldn’t have made any sense at that point.)

Truthfully, I kicked ass. But in the process, my soul began to wither up and die. It was sucking the life out of me.  It’s just not normal or healthy for one person to work that hard and that often. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And that this period of my life would only last 12 months.

The icing on the cake was when my hair and makeup stylist became insanely unprofessional the last couple of months of the business being open. No reason to go into details. But know, I was beyond humiliated and mortified at her behavior and had to make the difficult decision to cut her from my business and life. This also left me in a bind the last few weeks of being open, causing me tons of stress and heartache. Thankfully I had a friend and amazing stylist come to the rescue. I can do a lot of things, but run my entire business AND do everyone’s hair and makeup is whole other thing entirely!

Even when it was finally all over, I felt dead. My mind, body, soul, spirit had been depleted. I had nothing left in me. I knew it would be a challenge without help, but I had no idea it would leave me feeling like a zombie. I was breathing, but I was not alive. My health had also taken a backseat to everything else. I felt like screaming but I didn’t even have the strength left to muster a whimper.

Because of this, I made the decision to put my new business and California plans on hold and give myself some MUCH needed “me time” first. I was putting so much pressure on myself to jump into this new venture quickly and I asked myself, “why rush?” There is so much time for that! I decided to pack up my fur babies and entire life and drive to Florida where my family lives. I had no idea what was going to happen after that. But I just knew I needed a fresh start and to just BREATHE.

For the past several months, I have done just that.

I planned a trip to Iceland and went there this month. I believed of anywhere in the world, Iceland was the place to go for healing. And boy, was I right. After telling her about my trip, my best friend Bethany said it right… my soul was dry and going to Iceland was like taking a deep drink of water after being in the desert for years. It brought me back to life. It reignited the fire in my heart that had barely just been a little tiny flame for so long. So many circumstances and so many people had tried their best to destroy me and my passion for this beautiful life I have been given. Going on this trip saved me. I will never be the same after Iceland. I can barely contain the inspiration and passion it brought back to me. I could scream it from the mountaintops.

It also made me realize that this is what I need to be doing for a while. Adventuring and sharing it with others. Exploring the world is truly one of my deepest passions. I think about it all the time. Wanderlust consumes me. I grew up in Peru, so staying put in one place all the time was never really for me. I was made to explore cultures, meet new people, expand my mind, pursue the unknown mysteries of our planet.

With that being said, I am thrilled to say that I will be traveling for a while and I plan to invite you to come with me. I will be sharing all the details and sign up information in January. : ) Not only will you have the opportunity to come with, but also the chance to be photographed by yours truly in the most beautiful places in the world. (ha! you guys knew I couldn’t quit photography all together;) I absolutely cannot wait to share everything with you. Iceland will be the first place we go and who knows after that. The world is our oyster. Adventure is out there. Waiting for us to have it.

In conclusion, I decided long ago I would never ever allow anything or ANYONE to change who I am or take away my happiness. No matter how many times I am hurt, I will always see the good in people. I will never stop believing in humanity. The world is full of amazing and exciting people and places. And I cannot wait to experience them all.



  • Christina ChoNovember 30, 2016 - 9:42 pm

    I’ve been following your work for years, and to hear this has happened to you breaks my heart to pieces. But to also know you found healing brings me so much joy for you!!! I’m so excited to find some time to join you in your adventures!!! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see you in action!!! Thank you for always sharing your story!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:39 pm

      Christina thank you so so much for your kind words!! This truly means so much to me!!! xoReplyCancel

  • Amanda GrantNovember 30, 2016 - 10:00 pm

    So happy for you finding your wings again. I’m sure I speak for more than myself in saying that you have been missed. You are unbelievably talented, not only with your vision of beauty and photography, or amazing taste in lingerie, but also in the relatable honesty and eloquence in your words. Can’t wait to see what exciting adventures you have planned. (May I recommend adding Scotland to your list) Thank you for being you!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:41 pm

      Hi Amanda! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your kind words. It means the world! And I have actually been to Scotland but only for a day so I need to go back! xoReplyCancel

  • Alexis ANovember 30, 2016 - 11:00 pm

    I’m in tears! I’ve been following your blog and work for a while now. I always wanted to do a shoot with you, but never came around financially to be able to. I am deeply sorry that this has happened to you. You have such a beautiful soul and are too inspiring to ever let anyone destroy that! I remember when you posted about hiring an assistant. I told my husband, boyfriend at the time, how awesome that would be… if I could do that! After you hired Emily, I told myself “next time” I’m applying. Ha! Through all of your posts, blogs, comments on your website & social media have made me feel like I know you, personally, and I’ve never even met you. That my friend, is something wonderful. You are so wonderful & I love that you have found the strength to keep going forward.

    We are all human & things happen for a reason. Despair & hurt always bring growth & joy. May God continue to bless you. Thank you for everything you share, and for being simply you!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:43 pm

      HI Alexis! Thank you so so much for your kind words and taking the time to write them. It is not taken lightly at all. I am so grateful!! Much love to you.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle Sylve-WatlerDecember 1, 2016 - 8:36 am

    When me and the hubby came in for the last shoot you”Rocked It”! I would have never know you were dealing with all this inside. Enjoy your You time! You deserve itReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:43 pm

      Thank you so much Danielle!!ReplyCancel

  • Adrianne RoquesDecember 1, 2016 - 2:44 pm

    Welcome back to life, Courtney! Your brilliance, creativity, beauty, and inspiration have been missed!! Much love and happiness to you!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyDecember 2, 2016 - 3:44 pm

      Thank you so much for your support Adrianne!ReplyCancel

  • Kati WardDecember 13, 2016 - 3:47 pm

    You are truly amazing. I have been quite a fan and your words and pictures for as long as I can remember and you have always blown me away! I cannot wait to read and see more through your eyes.

    Thank you for reminding me that no matter what, we can always be brought back to life!

    You’re awesome, Courtney!!!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:15 pm

      Aww, I am just now seeing this comment! Thank you so very much for your kind words and support! It means so much!!ReplyCancel

  • AmyDecember 17, 2016 - 1:13 pm

    I have always felt that seeing only the good in others is my best and worst quality too. I had been burnt so many times that it hardened me. I lost little bits of me that may others would find silly (crying during chick flicks) that I loved about myself and it scared me. I went through a healing patch and just eliminated all negativity out of my life and feeling so much better. I have followed you since the beginning of my photo career and was so sad to hear you closed the boudoir studio. I am glad I happened to find you here and I can’t wait to follow along. I love your HAIR!! And Iceland looks amazing. Definitely on my bucket list! God bless girl!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:15 pm

      Aw thank you so very much!! I am so sorry I am just now seeing this comment. It means the world! Thank you for taking the time to share your support. xoxoReplyCancel

  • Darice FarrisJanuary 16, 2017 - 10:07 pm

    Girl I had no idea! You will always be my reason for taking risks that I am now taking! I have such admiration and respect for you and how you ran your business. Such a class act! I hope I can join you on one of these adventures. I’m putting it on my list now!ReplyCancel

    • courtneyMay 1, 2017 - 3:16 pm

      Aww Darice thank you so much for everything!!! xoxoxReplyCancel

I was homeschooled my entire academic life. (With the exception of kindergarten and 3rd grade.)

I genuinely HATED it with a passion. I was not created to sit in a home all day with no social activities to look forward to. It was dreadfully boring. On gosh it was DREADFUL. However, as an adult in my 30s… I can honestly now say I am so grateful I was.

I was protected from bullying, drugs, etc. I don’t have body image/confidence issues because I didn’t have to compare myself to other girls or be teased for anything. I was able to maintain my innocence well into my late teenage years because I wasn’t surrounded by students talking about things they shouldn’t be talking about until they are an adult.

But more than any of that, it forced two great things upon me.

1. I had to learn to be creative to keep from losing my mind of boredom.

2. I had to learn to “figure it out” most of the time.

These two things play such a huge role in who I am as an adult now. The creativity I possess definitely stems from being homeschooled and having to use my imagination and the artistic side of my brain more.

The internet was the big thing when I was 15 years old. I begged my parents to get it. And when we finally got dial up AOL, I was ecstatic!! Finally something to do to keep from going nuts of boredom! I immediately taught myself HTML coding and learned how to make my own websites at 15. This all came from my creativity but also from my “figure it out” mentality. Because of this, I was able to get a full time job at age 16 at a local internet company as the assistant webmaster. I was the youngest person working there. Everyone else there had gone to college and were in their 30s. (And if you’re wondering how a 16 year old was able to work a Mon-Fri full time job… it’s because being homeschooled you can school yourself whenever you want! And thanks to my grandma for driving me back and forth every day!!)

The curriculum we used for my education was very self taught. So I spent most of my time alone, in my room, or wherever.. schooling myself. My mom was always around of course if I had a question about something. But I definitely did most of it myself and because of this I adapted a “figure it out” self sufficient mind.

I didn’t have teachers and other people around to give me all the answers. If I needed or wanted to know or learn something, I had to figure it out myself. This has truly impacted my life in huge ways. I’ve been able to accomplish and do so much because I don’t rely on others to teach me things. I am able to “figure it out”.

Because of this I have started and run a very successful business now for 6.5 years without going to college or business school. I never read a book on photography or business. I figured it all out on my own. I worked hard at it. Self taught.

I have also started a brand new retail business that will be launching soon. I did all of this on my own. I set up the business logistics, designed and coded the website, designed all graphic design and marketing/packaging materials, do my own photography and filming, etc. I am able to do it all because I learned to be self-sufficient. Because I was homeschooled.

I realize homeschooling isn’t for everyone. However it truly has very positive affects if done right. My only advice to anyone considering it: make sure your child or children have plenty of extra curricular social activities to participate in. This is uber important to their development as well.

I simply wanted to share how positively it helped me. Yes, I loathed it while I was going through it… but once my parents put me into social activities at age 14, I was much happier and didn’t hate it nearly as much.

I am genuinely grateful for it. So thanks mom and dad. : ) Sorry for fighting you on it sometimes.



When I went to Greece two years ago, I knew I would be back soon. I fell in love. It is the most magical place I have been to. Something about the weather, being surrounded by the bluest water and the intimacy of the island… makes it the most amazing place.

See photos from my first trip here and here.

The first time I went it was with two of my girlfriends. We had so much fun and also went to Mykonos and Athens. I had an amazing adventure with them. But when I went back, I knew I wanted to go alone. I wanted to be able to soak in every moment, with zero distractions. (I highly recommend this. If you can take a trip alone to Europe, it will change your life.)  I even deleted my Facebook and turned off all of my emails to limit my phone usage. I can say I am so glad I did that. I was barely on my phone the entire trip which was so refreshing. I was able to truly BE in the moment, breathing in every second of it. It was exactly what I needed before I start my last year of work in Louisiana. It was inspiring and “recharged my batteries” in more ways than one.

I went back to Santorini only. I didn’t want to spend additional time traveling from island to island so I went back to my favorite and enjoyed 7 days there. I had an adventure every single day in this magical land.

I cannot wait to go back again and again. I am in love with Santorini, Greece.

santorini001View from my hotel’s infinity pool:santorini002santorini003My cute little private deck that I loved at Andronis Luxury Suites.santorini004santorini005One of my favorite things about this hotel is that every room has its own personal outdoor jacuzzi. Mine had a view to die for. santorini006The moon was on its “almost full” cycle the whole time I was there. It was insanely gorgeous. It lit up the night, water and my deck every night. santorini007

I mean seriously, I never wanted to go to bed at night because I could stare at this all night long. And some nights, I did just that.


The views are just stunning everywhere you look. I came across a few wedding shoots taking place.

santorini010santorini011santorini012santorini013santorini014santorini015santorini016santorini017santorini018santorini019santorini020santorini021santorini022santorini023santorini024The entrance to my hotel room and deck:santorini025Another view from my deck!santorini026santorini028This place is truly a photographer’s dream. The lighting is perfect all day long, and at all angles. Thanks cute couple for proving my point. ; ) santorini029santorini030santorini031santorini032santorini033santorini034santorini035santorini036santorini037santorini038santorini039santorini040

The spot below is the “postcard” shot of Santorini. It’s a very popular spot at sunset and you have to get there early to get the spot and angle you want. This is the only place I would say ever feels crowded or touristy. But it is still worth it if you have the patience.


Even though it’s crowded at sunset, it is still nothing like other places in Europe such as the Notre Dame in Paris.



One of my favorite days is when I went out on a yacht for the afternoon/evening. There is something about being on a stunning boat, with the wind in your hair…


The water in Greece is PERFECT. I mean exquisite.


We stopped at this area called Red Rock beach and swam for a little while. The water temperature was not hot, nor cold. It was a temperature I like to call AMAZING. It is so clear, so light… you feel like you are swimming in heaven. That is the best way I can possibly describe it. I never wanted to get out.


This day was perfect. Actually, every single day was. Siiiiigh.


Walking back home (aka my hotel), the full moon stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away. My photo doesn’t do it justice but it was so bright and orange and huge.


The deck view at another lil spot I stayed at.


I could stare at this view all day.


Santorini is a little hidden paradise on earth. I cannot say enough good things about it.



I know I have already said it, but the water in Greece is SO BLUE and so clear. Even from the airplane it is just this blue. Sky blue.


Video coming soon!

You have been wonderful to me. So wonderful. So many amazing things took place this year and I am grateful for every single one.

I also made some huge decisions this year about my life and career. It has a lot to do with the above. But also because I am ready for a little change. I am SO excited about these new decisions and will be sharing them with the world on January 12th, just a couple of weeks away. EEK. I will give you a little hint about part of the news:


Another favorite moment of this year for me personally was when I decided to raise funds for my friends Bobby and Lindsay Earle. You can read their story here. When Bobby first shared his story on FB, I balled my eyes out. I felt overwhelming compassion for this family and immediately wanted to help in some way. My first thought was I wanted to raise money to help them with their astronomical medical bills. I decided to create a gofundme account and post it on my social media and on his page so his friends could see it. I was BLOWN AWAY by the response to this need. Within 48 hours I raised almost $40,000. I could not believe it. I was honestly hoping to raise around 10k but people just kept donating and I kept thanking God. Overall, people donated over $51,000 for Bobby and Lindsay. I am so inspired by the people’s generosity and goodness. And I know that it not only helped them financially in more ways than one, but also inspired them that there is hope. Lindsay wrote me a very sweet letter afterwards expressing her gratitude. It was all I needed to know that everyone’s efforts had blessed them. So if you are one of those amazing people who donated or left them an encouraging comment, thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you abundantly.


This year I finally began writing my story. Which is actually turning into a book. I’ve typed over 15,000 words so far, and have so many thousands to go still. But I am soooo excited to finally make this happen. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but never felt ready. So grateful that God finally gave me the strength and motivation to do it. And I cannot wait to share it with you sometime in early 2015 I hope. I still need to figure out what the name of this book will be though. Hmm….

Those are just a few highlights of this year. There were so many things I am so thankful for including my amazing staff and wonderful clients. I am so blessed.

2015 is going to be a really amazing year. I have so many goals and plans and huge steps towards my future. I can’t wait to start this new year and new chapter.

Thank you God for every thing you do for me. I am forever grateful.

  • HillaryDecember 26, 2014 - 4:53 pm

    I hope that sunset photo means you’re moving to Cali!ReplyCancel

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